Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sorry poor neglected blog...

Well it's safe to say it's been a while!...

After Worlds in Chicago I kind of went M.I.A in the blogging world. Mostly due to the fact, that for once (touch wood), that everything was going really well and there wasn't much to report and I was simply just enjoying life. So I ll fill you in...

WTS Chicago for me was a crazy experience and I loved every minute...shame my performance didn't reflect my season...but to be honest, I don't care. I do this sport cause I have so much bloody fun doing so! Huge thank you to my sponsor Briggs Marine for making my dreams a reality and getting me there!! Forever Grateful!

Many exciting and happy things have happened over the last few months that I would love to share with you all if you have read my previous blogs too...

1. I finally got the all clear and no longer have a pre cancerous cervix... woop woop!! 

2. I got offered a permanent job in a place I love working!!

3. I have had a full winter working with a new awesome coach, yes you Kirsty :)

4. Because of Kirsty I have had a full winter with no injuries (which is rare for me), thank you

This ones for you grandpa...
Among all the exciting times we have also had some sad times as a family. We lost the head of our family, my grandpa. The influence and role he played in my life is a massive void that will never be filled as he was one in a million! Always thinking of him and always going to strive to make him proud and achieve all I can as I know that's what he wanted for all the family. 

He was able to come and watch me race last year at Lochore Meadows near my hometown for my first ever Olympic distance triathlon. Seeing him there with the rest of the family was amazing and I ended up winning my age group. I will always cherish these memories!


This year that same race has been awarded the Scottish Olympic Distance Champs. I cant wait to get up there and race, knowing he will be with me every step of the way! Hopefully I can do him proud!

Ashmei Ambassador day 
One of the last exciting things I got up to was attending the Ashmei Ambassador day. Unfortunately I was not picked this time around but I had a blast running up and down muddy hills for an hour. The time flew by as we were all chin wagging and sharing stories. There were some amazing people I could have listened to all day. Congrats to all selected and I look forward to following your journey!

A great experience, thank you Ashmei!
A brilliant brand who really is bothered about outperforming the best :)


Race time, go time!!
So as I start prepping my race bikes ready for competition season (2 weeks today wooo), with a very dodgy chest and forced resting, it gives me time to just stop and think. I have worked my bum off this winter and hopefully this will show in my results throughout the year. But at the end of the day, and i will say it a million times, so sorry. You just have to go and have fun and the rest will fall into place!

I will leave you with one of my fav quotes...its all about the journey...
Much love xxx

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Things are on the up!...

I have not blogged in a while. Mostly because things were not really that great and was concentrating on getting over the doom and gloom of the last blog. 

It is now around 2 1/2 months since the psychotic woman at Nottingham triathlon played a game of total wipeout with me. I still to this day don't understand how I came out as well off as I did. I was a mess with a bashed head but bones and carbon in tact. (Think I was more bothered about the carbon!! 😂) 

I was consumed with healing physically I did not consider how much this would mentally effect me. It has taken until this point to be back to my usual self. 

The scars began to fade but I was left with a huge fear of the bike and coming off again. I had flashbacks over and over of the crash in my head. All I thought when I got on my bike was what if I come off? what if I am not as lucky this time? I was hesitant, tense and wobbly due to my nerves which is never going to help. I kept at it in training and that first race post smash came around quickly. 

I by no means wanted to push it at all! Luckily the race was at home in Scotland and I had my mum there with me for support. I put a brave face on and just got on with it. It was not a technical ride but lots of climbs and descends. I was beyond brake heavy and lost probably close to 5-8mins thanks to this. All i was bothered about was getting off the bike in one piece. So goal achieved. At that point I thought this was the start of normal me and back to the competitor I was in May. 

As the next two triathlons came and went I quickly realised I was at the beginning of a very long and testing road. I couldn't attack races on the bike and I couldn't get the visions of me flying head first over my bike into the ground out of my head. It was upsetting and frustrating and I thought that's just how it was going to be from now on. 

It was after that final tri that I contacted my coach about finding cycling development sessions and she recommended the women only skill development sessions at Prestwold circuit which are run by Dean Hughes. See link here:

I put my progress solely on these sessions as well as my perseverance of course! I have been to 3 of these sessions now. Dean and the girls there are so lovely and supportive to all that join! I recommend it to anyone in the area no matter how experienced or not!

It's like I am a new person. I am attacking on the bike, Cornering on a wheel, cycling as a tight group and most importantly I have not had one crash flashback since. 

I raced a triathlon after these sessions and to say I attacked and smashed the bike is an understatement. I even found myself a taking risks and pushing it on decsends and corners (who am I!!) thanks to this I was rewarded with my first ever age group win! A couple of weeks later and I have now also obliterated my 10mile TT time from 28:57(April this year pre crash) to 27:46! 

I have come out the other side and luckily just in time as I now have 5 weeks until the World Champs in Chicago. I have one triathlon and one TT left in the build up and I cannot wait to get stuck into training and racing feeling like myself again. 

I know crashes are inevitable in this sport. At least now I know what to expect and how to deal with it all. 

See y'all in Chicago!! 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Success, disappointment and some unexpected events!!

Wow...what can I say!! 

This month has been one of some serious ups and downs! It has been a long time since my last blog! Things have improved since then and I have experienced a lot of amazing things! Obviously these were not without any setbacks but nothing is ever easy!

I am going to focus on my month of May! However before May I had my first ever championship experience in being part of the GB Age Group European Duathlon team! I will never forget this trip! I met some friends for life here! My race is secondary to all of the memories I made as unfortunately I was injured leading into the champs. I was back in time to compete but missed a lot, so didn't expect anything from it. I just went out, enjoyed myself and soaked it all up! Incredible trip! 

As that brought us to May and the start of Triathlon season! Finally! I was excited to get my season started as my swimming has hugely improved and I was generally stronger! First race of the season was the British Champs! This was the 1st of 3 world champ qualifiers. This was my main aim for the season "to qualify for worlds" .

Race one was not at all what I wanted or what I expected! Hideous swim and the same as what I was clocking last season! I knew i was better than that!  The bike was ok and the run was probably where I thought it should be. Tried not to let it phase me and got my head sorted ready for race two and the 2nd qualifier!

Now this was a race I was excited about! Eton Dorney, flat and fast! I was ready to go for it and we had brilliant weather. I came out of the swim with a lot of other girls, something I am not used to. From there I got on my bike and one by one I started picking them off and making my way through the field. Once onto the run it was a case of hang on and hope for the best. I lost one position but could not have given anymore! I had obliterated my race pbs and done myself proud. I was also in a qualifying spot for World Champs in Chicago! Beyond excited I could not wait for confirmation. It never seems real until you get the email!  

I still had one more race left in Nottingham after this. The 3rd qualifier! I could not wait to race. An even faster course than Eton and a pressure free race as I had qualified already. I did however need to make sure I got Europeans selection! 

Race day came and we had a later start of 14:45. I still managed to run late as in true girly style I could not get my hair right. Little did I know this was irrelevant as I would find myself rolling around on the grass verge later in the day!

I don't think I imagined this would ever happen to me ever! When in reality the likelihood is high! So I never qualified for Europeans on Saturday. This was because after coming out of the water in a great position, I was swiftly taken out on the bike by a complete idiot of a woman cutting across my path on a corner. She swiped my front wheel from me. I smashed into the ground head and face first and I cannot remember anything else.

I can guess how I went down form the rest of the damage to me and my bike. Thankfully I am Alive and in one piece. Miraculously no bones had broken and my helmet saved my head from being scrambled egg! 

Some lovely pics for you... 

This is me happy and pre race in my new suit! Ready to rock and roll!

Unfortunately... This was the outcome! Cut and battered but in one piece!

I am now a few days into recovery and although I am grateful to only have minor injuries. This has hugely effected me. Every day is pain and it's exhausting. I cannot wash my hair or hold heavy things or walk properly. It's devastating for someone so used to be constantly outdoors and exercising. I know the cut and wounds will heal and the bruises disappear. I just have to be patient! 

I am staying positive though and using my time out as serious recovery time ready to smash the rest of the season. I plan on racing in a few weeks. Only on my road bike as I am more comfortable on it and my tt bike will now need checked and repaired. 

My focus is now on the World Champs in September in Chicago! Truly taking the statement what does not kill you makes you stronger! Here is to a fabulous June! I am in fantastic shape and have not yet had a chance to show it! Hungry for more! Fingers crossed for a more than positive next blog!

Much love people!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Winter training, injections, biopsies and unplanned craziness...(Warning: slightly graphic)

Not entirely sure how or where to start with this blog. The last race of the season seems a lifetime ago and lots has happened since. I decided to write this blog after a bit of deliberation basically to help raise awareness.

I shall start from where I left off. I finished last season carrying a niggle in my foot which was to be treated with a steroid injection. This at the time was horrific and worst pain I have suffered to date. So bad I am not sure I could willingly sign up to have that done again if needed. All thanks to having torn my ankle ligaments so many times there is just nothing there anymore. Touch wood, I never had any issues after this, and I have had a whole winter of full training, or what I thought would be full training. For once injury is not what has held me back.

Now this wasn't something I was going to speak openly about and not many people actually know about it. It is just one of those things that I wasn't embarrassed to talk about, but I felt like it was one of those things if you said out loud, the reaction would be "oh too much information" or "Oh no I don't want to hear that". This is exactly why I am openly discussing it as awareness needs to be raised, that this is normal and effects lots of people (more than you think) and its nothing to be embarrassed about. It saves peoples lives. The stigma needs to be taken away.

So after around 8 months of tests and very uninformative letters and appointments at the hospital, I was told I had abnormal/pre cancerous cells on my cervix. Biopsies and treatment were needed to treat this. If it wasn't for Google I would have had no clue what I was in for. The letters all as vague as can be, stating times to turn up but no details of for what. This is something that needs to be addressed. I had my biopsy and 1st lot of treatment on the cells to remove them which meant a lengthy time of no vigorous exercise, especially not swimming, which for me was horrible. My poor mum had to put up with me moaning I couldn't train for weeks.

Biopsies showed more treatment was needed and the appointment conveniently fell on the 2nd March. Precisely 1 week before my 1st scheduled race. Again the letter was basically we found abnormal cells(not cancer) you need more treatment, come along at this time, and they wonder why people wont go for even a smear. This is a medical procedure and I have no idea what they were planning to do. I had to call up and ask them a million and one questions. Resulting in 1. they will cut a section from your cervix 2. It will mean 4-6weeks no exercise. I know preventing this turning to cancer is the main aim but all I was thinking was, what about my season?

Luckily I have medical insurance (I hadn't used this initially as I did not think it would get to this point) so I luckily got an earlier appointment and spoke to a consultant who was a breath of fresh air. Really explained the ins and outs and what everything meant. The NHS really need to think about doing more 1. Getting people to go for smear tests in the first place and then 2. Making people aware of what treatments mean. The anxiety and stress of it all can be a major factor.

The consultant told me that 150 people across Fife and the Lothians were diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. All of whom did not go for a smear test. This was when I got the best news ever. I was checked and yes I may need further treatment but he took my personal circumstances into consideration and said this would cause more harm than good at the moment. Leaving me until the end of the season would be ok with a few checks through the summer to make sure nothing had progressed. The next figure is what really made me trust his decision. Only 4% of the most aggressive type of pre-cancerous cells actually become cervical cancer and that is over a span of 10years. There are obviously minority cases in their but very rare.

This is why it is SO important to go for your smear test. We live in a country where our healthcare is free. That is such a luxury. They even schedule your app and all you have to do is turn up and spend 10mins every 3 years of your life feeling slightly uncomfortable. This will literally save your life. Only 1 in 12 are then actually found to have pre-cancerous cells, the mildest form to which most of the time will clear on their own accord and are just monitored closely.

So in all, yes I have had some horrible treatment and will now have regular checks and hosp apps and time out from what I love doing most but in the long run this has stopped anything sinister and I can have peace of mind knowing that. Some people are not that lucky.

I hope if anything this has helped educate or help show that its so important just to take that small time out of your lives. Yes we are all busy but I would rather lose 10mins than have my life shortened. 

One of the many sites that helped me understand what everything meant was NHS online:

For having such well informed websites, it is a shame they are not as great as communicating directly via letter and helping understand. Hopefully this will be something that changes. You shouldn't have to Google what you might be going into hospital for.

So until the time comes to go back to hospital I can get excited about he season ahead. A positive is, I am healthy and looking forward to starting my competitive season in a week at the Burntwood Aquathlon (my swim is still the weakest link, but improving slowly). Then it is onto Duathlon season in preparation for my main aim, The European Duathlon Championships in Alcobendas, Madrid at the end of April. I hope everyone's training is going well and I look forward to seeing and meeting lots of people through the new season.

Have a great season everyone!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Last duathlon and season end round up!

Well last weekend was my last race of my first ever season as a multi-sport athlete. I have learned so much over the last few months! 

I chose a low key duathlon, called Broxtowe Duathlon, with my fellow newbie triathlete friend Michelle. She had done this race last year with another of our friends and recommended it. It was local and it was a super sprint (4k run, 14kbike, 2k run), perfect. 
Me and Mich pre race!

I learned a lot from the previous weeks etu European qualifier at Oulton Park. The main thing being how tough the second run was, so knowing that today's 2nd run was only 2k was awesome!

Once again I was running late and my warm up was a jog to the toilet and back to the start. First run was 4k and safe to say I took this far too easily (woops). I set out into the bike loop feeling confident. It started great and straight away I was I overtaking as the first section was a long gradual climb. As the downhills began I heard a loud rattling coming from my bike which is not very reassuring. As I came back up off the tri bars I noticed my bike wheel was straight ahead and the tri bars were angled at around 45 degrees to the right. I seriously thought the bike was about to fall apart and I was defo coming off at some point before I got back to transition. So then the numerous pit stops began readjusting the bars back in place when it got too bad to cycle again (I had no tools to tighten it, not that I would have known what I was doing anyway). I lost so much time, the only plus I can see is that I was not ruined for my 2nd run as I sped out of t2 my pace was quick and somehow I kept it and managed to overtake a few women on the run. 9th overall women and 4th in age group were the final results in a time of 1:07. I wanted under 1 hour but with a slow poor effort on first run from me and then a cautious bike leg with three full stops and bike aligning, that was never going to happen. Next year for sure! Loved the race so thanks Broxtowe Council for organising the event!

As I reflect back on the whole season I have learned so much but the most important bit is I had so much fun!

Here are a few of my favourite 1st season ups and downs:

1. My first open water swim race and I discovered my wetsuit was too small. Hanging off a canoe as the guy undid the zip at the back, while everyone quickly swam away from me. Longest swim of my life. Worst experience at the time but funny looking at it now.

2. That race when it was scorching sunshine and I noticed in horror, 10mins pre race, all my fellow athletes getting sun tan cream put on. Yeh I didn't have any or anyone with me to help (loner), I am pale and Scottish, I got burnt, I still have the lines now.

3. The elation I felt when I crossed the line of my first triathlon where I didn't mess up any of the sections. Unsurprisingly still my best time to date. This was the first signs of progress.

4. My main aim of the season was to try and qualify for the GB age group team. Big ask but I am a tad ambitious. First disappointment of this was finishing in a qualifying spot for the worlds but not being fast enough, so didn't get to go. Probably best as my swim would have been embarrassing (it's much better now)

5. That moment when I did make a GB age group qualifying spot and I was fast enough! My first ever duathlon (no swimming yay)! Roll on Europeans in April 2015.

All in all it was a good season and so much fun. Now it gets a bit more serious(but still fun as hell) as I sit on my end of season break, planning my winter training schedule. 

Considering last year I did not start running after injury until January or swimming for the first time ever in January too, I already know next year will be so much better. Being fitter and having a bit more of a clue what I am doing is a very exciting prospect for me.

Anyway I will stop rambling for now. Can't wait to get stuck back into training! I will update you all again soon!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Oulton Park Autumn Duathlon

Sunday was the day I did my first ever Duathlon. I was very excited about trying one as it is my swim that is my weakest event and so I lack a lot of confidence there. Running and biking I have been doing for years so I was quite relaxed going into the race. What I didn't take into account is that my running and biking for years consisted of hideous lactic reps on the track and alternative speed based watt bike sessions. The furthest I ever ran was 400m and maybe with a few hurdles along the way. Yes it hurt but at least it was over in a minute or so. So to have over an hour of hurt is new territory.

The race for me was tough, probably mostly mentally. I need to work on concentrating and working hard throughout. I knew I was generally fit enough with a reasonable amount of training and only some blisters and a sore foot to contend with, for me, my body was in good shape. (I am almost never not injured or carrying a niggle but I think most people do at some point. Just part and parcel of sport.)

Prep wasn't the smoothest ever. With my arm tattoos not peeling off correct and having to ask some poor RAF helper to find a marker and scrawl my number on arms. I then get set up in transition, thinking all good, then my front break caliper starts playing up and moving about. Completely blocking my tyre. A quick mad run to the bike mechanics to have it fixed (thankfully they were there as I had no clue how to fix the issue). All set I drag my bike back into transition and have a quick once over make sure I have everything. Nope...obviously I have not even got my cycling shoes out, let alone put them onto my bike! If I had a brain I would be dangerous!

By this point I had around 5mins until race briefing. Not much time to fit in a warm up, a pee, hydration and a few last min haribo energy boosts. I flew round the car park once, ran into the disabled toilet (ladies queue was massive sorry) downed some hydration and shoved some sweets in my mouth as I walked to the briefing.

 Yup that is me in the bright yellow tshirt - best way to keep warm, make a cocoon in your tshirt! haha!

I had decided I was going to race in just my tri suit, as even though it was chilly I cannot stand being hot when running. Guess that's the sprinter in me wanting to run around in as little as possible. Think I would get a few funny looks if I tried the crop top and race briefs look here though!! 

Once we had had our race brief and the strict, any littering or drafting your for it malarkey, it was onto the circuit for a couple of strides before it was race lining up time. I was intrigued to see what the course was like. Yes it was smooth lovely tarmac, but i knew there were a few hills in there and banked turns. 

As we set off I felt reasonably ok. 2k in however my legs felt heavier than I would of liked. I just pushed on and hoped that my time would not be over 20mins. I was also conscious of pushing too hard on the first run so just kept to myself and got my head down. Turns out I did manage to get under 20 and run 19. I wanted an 18 but realistically around 20 was ok for me and where I am at at the moment.

My transition seemed good only slightly running past my bike and mounting fine with only a slight mishap trying to velcro up my left shoe. Damn strap was stuck so at least 3 people flew past me. I still believe I would have gotten under 40mins if it wasn't for that faffing about. It was rather windy out on the course but not too bad. Only once did I feel the bike go from under me. (small shriek let out, sorry fellow competitors haha). I got up to speed but bloody hell I was out of breath from all the running. New experience for me. *graphic info* I think through the whole bike leg I was sick in my mouth 3 times. Lovely. Apologies people. I started to overtake people one by one. At points it did get very crowded and I had to hold back so I wasn't drafting, as I just didn't have it in me to commit and overtake, although reflecting now I should have just gone for it. Another reason I didnt get under 40mins. My actual time being 40.45.

Me on my super new bike. Love it, what a difference

T2 was awesome. Feet out shoes, smooth dismount, throw my bike onto the wrack, helmet off and trainers on. Grab some water on the way out and time to settle into the 2nd run. Wow, I thought triathlon bike to run was sore. This was another level for me. I had practiced mini brick sessions but think it was just more of a shock to the system. A few women overtook in the first 100m but I kept them in sight. One lovely lady complimented me on my bike leg on the way past. I could have tried to go with them but wanted to run my own race. The whole of the race I hadnt seen any other fellow 25-29 competitors. I knew this was because they were way ahead and not the other way around haha! One 20-24 passed me not long before the finish. Something I regret now as it turns out it was the girl who was also trying to qualify for Europeans who will be in my age group next year. I just had nothing left. Not even for a sprint finish which is very unlike me (I blame the hill right before the finish).

Close your eyes, smile and pretend you are not about to keel over

For some reason I thought I had done a lot worse than I had. I just felt a bit crap. As my boy queued for my results, I cleared out of transition. Once we got my results I hadnt even seen my position just the times and I was very pleased. My aim was around 20s on the run and 40 on the bike. Target achieved!

I was more please my runs were only a min difference, I felt like death

The most exciting bit was then noticing my age category position. Top 4 get a qualifying spot for the European Champs if quick enough. So I thought even if the younger girl was quicker I would still get the Q4. I was so paranoid not to get too over excited I ran to find out if I had any penalties as that would have been soul destroying. Luckily no one was given drafting penalties today woo! It was packed in a lot of areas so I just wanted to be sure.

Now looking at the official results, my time is quick enough and the girl who was 2nd 25-29 was not registered to qualify so hopefully I have the Q3. I will not believe this until I get my email from British Triathlon haha!!

All in all it was a brilliant day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The course was great. Organistation brilliant and the volunteers, as always, make the event. I tried my best and couldn't have done anymore. 

Today my foot is not very thankful and is very sore and so is my neck as that was the first time on my tt bike racing. I have a small local super sprint duathlon next weekend and then it is time for a break and to get my foot seen to in a couple of weeks time. I am entered for the last European qualifier at althorp house but I am hoping I now do not need to do this.

Thanks again to all those that helped me along the way. What a great season finishing on a high. To think I couldn't even run until 7months ago thanks to a tear in my achilles. I am looking forward to settling into training and working hard to see where I can get to, now I  sort of know what I am doing. Lots to learn yet though and the best bit is I am loving doing it!!

Monday, 15 September 2014

My new triathlon adventure

To those that do not know me, I was a very injured 400m hurdler turned 400m runner who spent most of my time aqua jogging in the pool or on the watt bike. My new adventure all started when I signed up to do Blenheim Sprint Triathlon, the corporate section through my old place of work, Herbalife.

This was all just meant to a bit of a fun with a few girls at work and nothing more. At this point I was getting back from long term injury and finally back in spikes running on the track. This did not last long, and at the end of August last year I ruptured my Achilles doing a sprint session on the track. After weeks of no exercise at all and lots of rehab, I decided to focus solely on getting fit for my new triathlon challenge. Little did I know how addicted I would become.

I always used to think I was rubbish at all the endurance stuff and would never be a 'jogger' as we like to call our type at the track. Turns out I was rubbish at endurance as I didn't ever give it a proper go. The furthest I was used to was a 2 lap jog of the track in warm up.

As I really got into all the training on the bike and in the pool, while my achilles healed, I started to think I may not be too bad at this. Swimming was definitely my weakest by far. So with a few one to one coaching sessions to work on my stroke, I finally felt I was going in the right direction. I had also gotten myself a new trek road bike (little did I know how low spec this was until near the end of the season). 

I decided to start entering a few more triathlons before Blenheim as I was so eager to get going. These ranged from complete disasters to actually finally managing to string a full decent tri together. My first one was back home in Scotland. A pool swim and a very cold, windy and steep undulating bike course, meant a slow time but I was just happy to complete the race and in one piece.

My First Ever Triathlon

My first open water swim tri, which just so happened to be the British age group champs, was the biggest disaster. Turned out my wonderful new wetsuit was far too small. About 200m into the swim I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I could not breathe at all and trailed out the water last by a long way. Very embarrassing. My bike and run were not much better meaning I finished in over 1hr 30. 

Results from Nottingham - a good base point
My best race of the season to date, and only one I can say I was happy with all three of my events was at the Nottingham Triathlon. Determined to put the swim at the British out of my head, I really gave it all I had and was relieved to come out of the water mid pack (considering I only started swimming 4 months previously), I smashed my bike best and got under 40mins for the 1st time. Surprising on my little aluminium framed bike, while others sped past me on their fancy TT bikes. My run was not great but strong enough in 24mins. Finishing in the 1hr 20 mark in my 3rd ever triathlon was a great moment for me. I knew it was nothing compared to the others around me but showed the potential of what I could attain given a full winter training and having learnt all I have this season.

 Some snapshots of the rest of my season

With my triathlon season now over, after many more races of not quite getting near the time I did in Nottingham, I am now looking forward to some duathlons. I just missed qualification for both World age groups in Canada and Europeans next year in Geneva. So I am determined to make the duathlon team. Cutting out my weak event of swimming can only be a plus. I will now have the aid of a super speedy new tt bike as well. Cannot wait to get back competing.

I will now try to keep on top of my blogs and keep them up to date so its not such an essay. My next blog being after my 1st duathlon, and hopefully I shall have some good news.